For a price tag of up to $5,000, the Bobcat disc golf team can buy a chance at being in the top rankings nationwide. Central Oregon Community College’s disc golf team is currently the second-ranked in Oregon and thirty-second in nationals, according to Justin Bringhurst, disc golf team president.
“$5,000 will cover the entire trip [to Augusta, South Carolina],” Bringhurst said. “We’re trying to get sponsorships from local companies and doing fundraising to reach it.”
This money will cover the cost for four team members and their coach, Zoey Andyke. Andyke, who is also the coach for the fledgling Oregon State University-Cascades disc golf team and a two-time Oregon State disc golf champion, has taught disc golf clinics up and down the Oregon and California coast.
“I strongly believe our COCC boys have a chance at a national championship,” Andyke said. “I can’t believe the improvements made by all the team members [this year].”
If the team raises enough, it will be the second time they go to the national championships since the team began.
“Last year, we started up and immediately competed well at state,” said team member and fundraising coordinator Preston McKinney. “We qualified for the Northwest Collegiate and competed against teams from Canada all the way to Humboldt County [California].”
The team petitioned the Associated Students of COCC for money to help them get to the performance.
“ASCOCC filled the gaps and made sure we made it,” McKinney said.
This year, the only new member is Travis Roehl, who has played disc golf for years and finds the community refreshing.
“I know people from every single state from disc golf,” Roehl said. “People who would sleep on their couch and let me sleep in their bed if I had to crash.”
The sense of community and camaraderie comes from how small and devoted the fanbase is, with around forty to fifty thousand players worldwide, according to Roehl and the Professional Disc Golf Association.
“It’s such a small community that everybody knows somebody that knows somebody,” Roehl said.
There are currently eight schools in Oregon with disc golf teams, and of those, only University of Oregon’s has a higher ranking than COCC.
“Disc golf is worldwide one of the fastest growing sports,” Andyke said. “It’s developing into a sophisticated sport like golf.”